Who made the Gold List 2012?

Who made the Gold List 2012?

OUR DEFINITIVE LIST of the best hotels in the world is out today in Conde Nast Traveller. Now in its ninth year, the Gold List has become the bible for anyone looking for a stay somewhere truly outstanding, for service, location, food, rooms, leisure facilities and ambience & design – all tried, tested and trusted by the magazine’s team of editors, writers and hotel experts.
The list’s Editor, Peter Browne, has stayed at more than his fair share of top hotels. Here he tells us what makes a Gold List hotel stand out from the crowd, and gives us an exclusive preview of a few of the winners.

What, to you, constitutes a luxury hotel?
‘Hotel design has improved immeasurably over the years to the point where, at a certain level, good looks have become commonplace. But no matter how handsome, how cleverly put together, the true test of any hotel is its staff. Too formal and the experience can be cold; too relaxed and the hotel may feel unprofessional. A good hotelier will strive to get the balance right so that anyone who walks into the building will immediately feel welcome, special, taken care of. That’s the essence of luxury.’

Who are the old favourites of the Gold List, and why?
‘We take into consideration the results of our annual Readers’ Travel Awards when looking at which hotels might make it, and certain hotels crop up regularly. These are our ‘classics’: hotels such as The Carlyle in New York, Claridge’s or the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, all of which have made it onto the Gold List five times or more. They may have been around a long time, but they also know they need to evolve and that there is always room for improvement.’

Are there any exciting new developments in the hotel world?
‘Keeping up with technology is pretty much an ongoing process in all hotels and it won’t be long before televisions imbedded in bathroom mirrors will be considered old-hat. I love all the gizmos, but most of all I like a simple, central console to turn off all the lights. Anything that makes life easier when you are away from home gets my vote.’

What are we seeing more of?
‘Well, last year it was baths in bedrooms. Fortunately they seem to be migrating back into bathrooms. Spas are getting bigger and bigger; roof terraces, especially with pools, are very popular; celebrity-chef restaurants are virtually guaranteed now and the competition is fierce.’

Which are emerging destinations to look out for?
‘Quite a few newer hotels are making it onto the Gold List, which is encouraging. It keeps our old favourites on their toes! China and India are the most obvious new hotel hot spots, with a lot of ‘product’ coming onto the market, and those countries are starting to make an impact on the list.’

Which country is most renowned for its service?
‘Asia, generally, has it sewn up, but Mauritius is also outstanding and Seychelles has come along in leaps and bounds. The boutique safari camps of South Africa are also of a very high standard.’

Your personal favourites?
‘I have many favourites, but I do like Firmdale Hotels and Crosby Street Hotel in New York in particular, and Ellerman House in Cape Town is right up my street: quiet, discreet, sumptuous but not pretentious, in a great location and with lovely, gentle staff. Chewton Glen in Hampshire is wonderful too.’

What sets one hotel apart from the rest of the bunch?
‘The people who work there.’

For the full list, see the January issue of Conde Nast Traveller, out now, or subscribe here.
The Gold List 2012 will be published here in January 2012.

Related stories:

The Gold List 2011

The Hot List 2011

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